Haylett-Petty excited for debut

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

When Dane Haylett-Petty found out he would be making his Wallabies debut, he knew exactly who to call.

The 24-year-old rang his  mum, Margie, who was overwhelmed with emotion.

Haylett-Petty struggled to keep a smile off his face in the wake of the news, a stark contrast to the composed figure he strikes on the field.

“I do try to remain calm but was very excited this morning when the announcement came,” he said.

“Cheik announced it to the whole group and it was the first time anyone heard.

“It was a very proud moment.”

Haylett-Petty grew up in South Africa before his family moved to Perth and dabbled with cricket and hockey before settling on rugby later in his teens.

“I wanted to be a cricketer, all rounder,”he said.

“ As my schooling went on, started enjoying rugby more and more and decided that was the route I wanted to take.”

He counts James Small and Percy Montgomery among his childhood heroes, among a team of Springboks that inspired a generation of rugby players, not least of which was his teammate David Pocock.

He has long since shaken that allegiance, though,

“Through that ‘95 World Cup, everyone was a Springbok fan and when I first moved to Australia, I definitely supported the Springboks.

“I only started playing rugby when I got here and then as it’s gone on I switched allegiances.

“James Small trying to take down Jonah Lomu in that world cup and I think guys like Percy Montgomery, a fair few Springbok players (inspired me).”

Haylett-Petty’s Wallabies journey has taken a global route, after starting in Australia, with a three-year stint in France and a stopover in Japan on the way back to Perth.

Australia takes on England at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 8pm  AEST.